Chart: The most improved rushing teams of 2016

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Wednesday January 18, 2017

Some takeaways:

- Only 7 of the 17 most improved teams in yards per carry had a new play-caller in 2016: MTSU, Missouri, Texas A&M, Tulane, Northern Illinois, UL-Monroe and Hawaii. (There was also a part-time change at Auburn, but it was the same system). In 2017, only four will have a new play-caller: MTSU, Auburn, USF and Alabama.

- Only 6 of the largest increases in YPC were among the most improved scoring offenses.

- 12 of the 17 teams with the largest increases in YPC reached a bowl game.

- The three most improved teams in YPG run triple-option offenses. New Mexico and Army already did, while Tulane moved to that style under Willie Fritz. Tulane went from No. 112 in rushing attempts per game last year to No. 9 this year.

- 9 schools are among the biggest increases in YPC and YPG: Louisville, New Mexico, Missouri, Kansas State, Tulsa, Mississippi State, Tulane, Auburn and UL-Monroe.

- Some of these schools were aided largely by their quarterbacks. The QB’s with the most rushing yards were Lamar Jackson (Louisville), Quinton Flowers (USF), Nick Fitzgerald (Mississippi State), Will Worth (Navy), Jesse Ertz (K-State) and Jalen Hurts (Alabama). Five of those six are among the most improved rushing teams.

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Chris Vannini is in his fifth year with and serves as its managing editor. He has previously written for the Detroit Free Press, The Oakland Press, The State News,, 247Sports and SB Nation.  A graduate of Michigan State University, Chris now lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  Be sure to follow @coachingsearch and send emails to